Pretty Cheapy - Part Two

Continued from previous post.

After production, I sat down to edit the movie. As I mentioned before, I shot Pretty Happy on the Red One Camera. One of the main benefits of this state-of-the-art camera is that it shoots in a RAW format(more on that later). This benefit also comes with a potential headache in post-production where there are several different less-than-easy workflows for an editor to choose from.

Now, I am not an editor. I had an editor-friend show me how to use Final Cut Pro once, and that is really the extent of my qualifications. However, I spent almost my entire budget on shooting Pretty Happy so I had little choice but to figure out how to edit Red footage myself.

I spent the next month or so reading filmmaker forums online and learning and testing out various different workflows. I am a huge fan of the internet as a learning tool. It has taught me oodles about photography and filmmaking and it has connected me with some very helpful people who have been kind enough to share their editing knowledge with me. The main challenge with these forums is actually finding someone who will say, "Yeah, you can do that." From my experience, most forum people tend to be nay-sayers, and will tell you that you need to either hire a professional or invest in professional-grade equipment. Neither of these are options for the guerilla filmmaker, so I just did it myself on my 2007 iMac.

After what felt like an eternity of researching, I finally began to edit.  I would sit at the computer with Ryan over my shoulder to give opinions and perspective. The process was slow at first, but quickly accelerated as the story and pace began to take shape. We had terrific actors who nailed their scenes within 1-3 takes every time. They gave us plenty to work with and brought a tremendous amount of depth to the story and characters.

When we finally had a rough-cut of the movie together, I showed it to a few friends and industry-folk to get some reactions. One such industry outlet was a small short-film distribution company that had bought rights to a previous short I had done. I received an email from them a day later saying that they loved the movie and wanted to purchase non-exclusive rights for a monthly DVD compilation going out the following month. They offered to buy the rights for $2,000 if I could get them a final cut with licensed music by the end of the week. I said sure.

Then I said, "Shit!" I didn't have a final picture edit, I didn't have a sound mix, and I had no licensed music. But I had an opportunity to make my money back for the whole movie AND pay for a sound mix and music...before I had even finished editing!  So, Ryan and I scrambled. He found an old sound-mixing friend to do our mix, we bought 4 terrific songs from, and I quickly learned how to color correct (-ish. I watched a ten minute youtube tutorial on using Apple's Color). We got the master out by the end of the week via Fed-Ex and that was that.

To be continued...